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TRANSCRIPT Ep. 234 | Leo First Quarter Serenade, and Your First Responder Planet!

TRANSCRIPT Ep. 234 (5.13.24)
Leo First Quarter Serenade, and Your First Responder Planet!

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Hello, Invisible Friend. April here, and the date today is May 13th, 2024. Welcome to Episode 234 of the Big Sky Astrology Podcast. This week, the Sun and Venus make their annual conjunctions with Uranus and some sextiles to Saturn, the Sun makes a conjunction with Jupiter and sextiles Neptune, Mercury enters Taurus and squares Pluto, the Leo First Quarter Moon says it’s time to perform, and Mars pushes us along the path toward the North Node. And I answer a listener question about your first responder planet.

Sun conjunct Uranus (May 13, 2024, 2:13 am PDT)

The Sun makes a conjunction with Uranus on May 13th at 2:13 am Pacific Time. It’s about the excitement of personal recreation. The Sun is the symbol of the essence of who we are, and when it comes together with Uranus, it is destabilized. And that sounds like a bad thing, but really I find it very exciting because it is a time to try on a new persona, a new look, a new attitude.

While it’s great to have a very strong confidence in who we are and to have the stability that comes from doing things generally in the same way in our lives, perfecting and getting better and better at the things that we feel make us who we are – this is a wonderful opportunity. When the Sun comes together in any kind of aspect with Uranus, but in particular, the conjunction, we get to try out a different way of being.

It’s a fast transit. It only lasts a couple of days, say one day, either side of the exact aspect. So, if you don’t like the changes that come your way, it’s alright. You can go back to being who you’ve always been and doing things in the same way. But this is a little bit of a mini-vacation from being yourself. And for that reason, I think it’s one of the more exciting aspects that the Sun makes during the year.

Venus sextile Saturn (May 13, 2024, 12:45 pm PDT)

Later on May 13th at 12:45 pm Pacific Time, Venus makes a sextile aspect to Saturn at 17º39’ Taurus and Pisces. Venus at 18 Taurus is on the Sabian symbol, A woman holding a bag out of a window. I believe I spoke about this on last week’s episode as well. This is a degree that, to some extent, is about tossing out or letting go.

And that’s not necessarily what Venus in Taurus wants to do. It likes to hold on to what it has. The sextile that it’s making to Saturn in Pisces symbolizes the idea that if we are able to let go, to get rid of some things, then perhaps we can connect with a sense of spiritual purpose, going beyond what’s physical and how we are tied to the world in that way.

Saturn is a symbol of our career and on a work level, this aspect can mean taking advantage of an opportunity that can help you move ahead. This might start with taking an invitation to network with other people in your field. Saturn’s on the Sabian symbol, 18 Pisces, A gigantic tent. And that is indicative of people getting together. So, getting rid of something big and that could be some physical possession, but it can also be an investment we have in working in a particular way, showing up to the world in a particular way. And letting that go will hopefully give us an opportunity to move in a new direction, with the help of others.

Leo First Quarter Moon (May 15, 2024, 4:48 am PDT)

And now for the Moon Report, and it begins with the Leo First Quarter Moon on May 15th at 4:48 am Pacific Time at 25º08’ Leo and Taurus. The First Quarter Moon in the lunar cycle furthers the agenda of the New Moon, and in this case, last week’s Taurus New Moon. Having reinforced Taurus’ platform of security, confidence and resources, the First Quarter in Leo says that now the time has come to perform, to show our stuff to the world. Leo is the sign that takes what Taurus has provided and turns it into something personal, puts a specific imprint on it, and turns it into a gift.

The Sun in this First Quarter Moon chart, the ruler of Leo, is nestled between Jupiter and Uranus. The big energy of the recent Jupiter-Uranus conjunction on April 20th is now ready to be shared. The Sun is on the Sabian symbol, A Spaniard serenading his Senorita, and it’s a symbol of wooing and of sharing our hearts as a gift with somebody that we love. The First Quarter is action time, so now is the time to share your song.

Lunar Phase Family Cycle

This is the First Quarter in a lunar phase family cycle that began at the New Moon on August 16th, 2023, at 23º17’ Leo. What was it that you envisioned for yourself at that time? And especially on a creative level, on a playful level, on the level of truly expressing who you are. This is the First Quarter and the time to take action on the things that you envisioned at that New Moon.

The Full Moon in this cycle comes along on February 12th, 2025, and we’ll get even a little more clarity around what was envisioned at that August 2023 New Moon in Leo. And finally, the cycle comes to its last action point on November 11th, 2025. That is when we make a final decision or a step to frame things in a particular way so that this entire 36-month lunar phase family cycle comes into clarity and makes sense.

Void-of-Course Moon periods

Let’s look at the Void-of-Course Moon periods for this week. On May 13th, the Moon in Cancer trines Neptune at 2:13 am Pacific Time. It’ll be Void-of-Course for just under an hour and a half, and then enters Leo at 3:36 am.

The Moon making a trine to another planet at the beginning of a Void-of-Course period indicates a gift is coming our way, and in this case, it’s Cancer’s talent for nourishing and nurturing -sometimes it can be a little much for some people, but in combination with Neptune, your gifts of love and nurturing are well received. This is also an outstanding aspect for creating art that makes other people feel, feel very understood, and really feel an emotional connection with you.

On May 15th, the Moon in Leo squares Jupiter at 9:41 am Pacific Time. It’s Void-of-Course for almost 5 hours, then enters Virgo at 2:33 pm. Normally, when a Void-of-Course Moon begins with the Moon square to another planet, there is some kind of conflict. And honestly, this time around, it’s not a great deal of conflict. Because the Moon in Leo is ruled by the Sun in a conjunction with Jupiter, both in Taurus; so they are connected by that rulership. Use this Void-of-Course Moon period to show your heart and your passion in a big way.

And finally, on May 18th, the Moon in Virgo opposes Neptune at 2:09 am Pacific Time. It’s Void-of-Course for about one and one-quarter hours, then enters Libra at 3:22 am. Planets in opposition bring an awareness. And in this case, it’s finding the balance between the Moon in Virgo’s practicality and good sense, and the sensitivity and sensibility of Neptune in Pisces.

Mercury enters Taurus (May 15, 2024, 10:05 am PDT)

Mercury enters Taurus on May 15th at 10:05 am Pacific Time, through June 3rd. In the sign of Taurus, Mercury, which is the communication sign, emphasizes developing practical skills and methodical communication. It’s not so much a chatty, small-talk-inclined Mercury. It likes to proceed in an orderly and well-established fashion, following the templates of past success.

Mercury square Pluto (May 17, 2024, 12:44 am PDT)

Mercury in Taurus likes to make a plan and stick to it. But, as it squares Pluto a couple of days later, on May 17th at 12:44 am Pacific Time, something likely comes along to blow us off schedule a little bit. We may find that there is a fly in the ointment that makes it clear that the established plan might go against your conscience, what you feel is the right thing to do, or you might be faced with trying to get along with a group that has established a particular plan and have to decide whether it’s worth putting up with all their rules, or if it’s better to go it alone.

Mercury’s square to Pluto is an excellent time for research, however. So, if there is something that you are working on that needs you to take a little time to really dig deep to get the answers that you need, this is a wonderful transit for that.

Venus conjunct Uranus (May 18, 2024, 4:40 am PDT)

On May 18th at 4:40 AM Pacific Time, Venus makes a conjunction with Uranus at 23º23’ Taurus. I think when Venus in Taurus comes together with Uranus, it probably represents some much-needed change, particularly in our personal relationships or our financial matters. We realize that things that have gone on for too long in the same way, even if it’s a way that we generally like, will tend to get a little boring and maybe a little stale. As Venus comes together with Uranus, we might suddenly wake up to new ways of being in relationship, which is ruled by Venus, and also changes to our habits and attitudes around money.

How would we do well to change our ways in these areas of life? Don’t expect to know the answers to that right away. Conjunctions are beginning times. They’re not always terribly clear, however, about what comes next. You might find at this conjunction that you need to leave an existing situation, but that doesn’t mean that you’re absolutely clear about what would be better for you.

Sun conjunct Jupiter (May 18, 2024, 11:45 am PDT)

The Sun makes a conjunction with Jupiter on May 18th at 11:45 am Pacific Time at 28º18’ Taurus. The Sun comes together with Jupiter once a year and only once in the same sign. It’s when the Sun’s activating force comes together with Jupiter’s forceful presence and ignites the desire for more.

The Sun and Jupiter are both planets of royalty, in a way. And when they come together, we feel an urge to expand our kingdom, our realm. This time around, it’s in Taurus, so it’s the realm of land and riches. We want more and more influence and more possessions. This combination, however, is on a much more modest Sabian symbol, 29 Taurus, Two cobblers working at a table.

The Sun and Jupiter are two cobblers working together on similar tasks, maybe even the same task, each working on one shoe of the same pair. Perhaps these are two kings who decide to merge their kingdoms and make them larger in that way. And maybe at this conjunction, think for yourself, is there someone in your life that you can join forces with who can help you expand your reach?

Sun sextile Neptune (May 19, 2024, 3:45 pm PDT)

Then the Sun sextiles Neptune on May 19th at 3:45 pm Pacific Time at 29º25’ Taurus and Pisces. The Sun is on the Sabian symbol 30 Taurus, A peacock parading on an ancient lawn. It evokes a graceful, ancient property, with a peacock strutting across it and symbolizing leisure and wealth. This represents the enjoyment of the old formal ways with prescribed boundaries.

But the Sun’s sextile to Neptune says they’re really lovely, the old ways, the tidy ways – but there’s more to life than what we see and experience on the physical plane. Aspects to Neptune are nice reminders that there’s this whole other dimension of life that we often ignore as we’re living day to day. There’s the invitation to go on a little more of a wandering journey so that the world might surprise us into new ways of thinking and being.

Mars conjunct North Node (May 19, 2024, 8:59 pm PDT)

And finally, Mars makes a conjunction with the Moon’s North Node on May 19th at 8:59 pm Pacific Time, at 14 degrees 56 minutes Aries. Mars can sometimes be a little bit of a troublesome influence, but I think that we really have to have a fire lit under us sometimes in order to move us in the direction of positive growth that can be symbolized by the North Node.

The North Node generally wants to lead us in a positive direction, and Mars, who is currently strong in his own sign, making no disruptive aspects, is likely to be a very able expedition leader on this particular journey.

The conjunction is on the Sabian symbol, 15 Aries, An Indian weaving a blanket. And this is a picture of an act of creation informed by generations of artisans, of craftspeople. Aries usually represents the pioneer who’s clearing new trails. But maybe in this case, the path forward is one that’s already been cleared for us by our forebears. What is your North Node in Aries project, the thing that you have had your eyes set upon, that will take you to a brave new land? At this conjunction, push toward it with no hesitation, in the knowledge that the path is ready for you.

Listener Question: Your First Responder Planet

In this week’s listener question, listener Penelope asked, “I came across a post on your website that I loved. It’s called ‘The Rising Planet, Your First Responder.’ In this post, you refer to the planet that’s rising first in the birth chart as describing how you react to new situations. I had never heard of this perspective, ‘the First Responder planet,’ and your post has given me a lot to ponder.

As I collect charts from friends and family (honestly, do we really know them well until we look at their charts?), I have been looking at charts and referring to your article. Fantastic information. Now that it’s been a mere 12 years (ack!) since you wrote this gem, would you consider expanding on this topic at the end of one of your fabulous weekly podcasts or just reading it on the pod?”

Well, Penelope, thank you so much, and my goodness, it has been a long time since I wrote that post. We will link to it in the show  . but at the time, I remember that it provoked a lot of conversation. After I re-read it, I’m not sure actually that I have that much to say to expand on it. So, I will take your advice, and I’ll read the post.

And, anyone who would like to ring in with their own reactions and comments should absolutely head over to and leave a reply on the post for Episode 234. Here’s what I wrote.

Confession: “No” is my first response to most new, unfamiliar, or spontaneous situations or suggestions. If the suggestion is,  , my reaction would be an enthusiastic, “Sure.” But if the suggestion is something like, hey, let’s go to lunch and hit the zoo together tomorrow, my knee-jerk reaction, even if -and this is key!-even if I like both you and going to the zoo, not to mention lunch, will probably be “no thanks.”

Why is this? Well, I like my little routines, I feel safe in them. The more I can contain and control my surroundings and schedule, the happier I feel. And I had planned to work too hard and have soup for lunch tomorrow.

There is no room in those sad little plans for socializing sandwiches or gazelles. The planet closest to your Ascendant, usually in the first, second, or third houses is called the rising planet. I also call it the first responder planet because it’s the planet that is first on deck to handle anything new that comes your way.

(Parenthetically, this should not be confused with the chart ruler. That is the planet that rules the sign on the Ascendant.)

In my birth chart, the first responder is Saturn. I react to anything new or unexpected with an upturned palm and the facial expression of someone who detects a nasty smell. This is complicated by the fact that friendly, spontaneous, Sagittarius is my rising sign. So I seem like exactly the kind of gal who would be up for a last-minute drink, cup of coffee, or shark-hunting expedition. And I’d like to be. That’s why I cultivated that persona. But underneath it all, I’m just not. Signs may indicate personal style. Planets set the agenda.

What is your first responder planet? And how does it describe your initial response to the new and unexpected? It’s the planet closest to the Ascendant, measured counterclockwise. That’s the planet that reaches the ascendant point first after your birth. Often, you’ll find this planet in the first, second, or third houses. If you have nothing in those houses, but you do have planets in the twelfth house, within, say, a few degrees of the Ascendant, that probably works like a First Responder.

Here are some ideas about the planets as First Responders, and these are not any kind of canon, they were just my ideas about them.

If it’s the Sun, you look for a way to stand out and be noticed, and you’re good at formulating creative responses to new situations. You always seek ways to make situations more fun and usually succeed. Hence, you’re probably pretty popular and your charisma makes you a natural leader.

If it’s the Moon, you monitor the emotional temperature of each situation and of the people around you. How’s everybody feeling? Does anyone need help? You’re naturally empathetic, but can also become worn out easily if you don’t devise some strong boundaries.

If it’s Mercury, easily bored, you enjoy new situations. You ask questions, try to find out what’s interesting or novel. And you tell good stories. You never enter a new situation without quickly formulating a getaway strategy in case things get boring.

If it’s Venus, you’re generally courteous, charming, maybe a little flirtatious. I have known some surprisingly aggressive people with Venus rising, though. But mostly you’re a strategist. You figure out the mood of the situation and strike a tone that will even things out. Sometimes that calls for a sweet approach, but sometimes for something more forceful.

If it’s Mars, you make things happen. Things need to be moving and moving quickly to keep you happy. And while you don’t naturally want to lead, you’re not a follower. You probably have a quick temper, or at least people perceive you as angry, sometimes even when you aren’t. You likely have very good reflexes and instincts in an emergency.

Jupiter, like Mercury rising, you generally like new situations, seeing them as an adventure. You make people laugh, often at your own expense. You take a philosophical approach, and where Saturn says, no, you are inclined instead to say, sure, why not? If you’re in an insecure mood, though, you may switch into know-it-all mode in new situations.

Saturn, your inclination is to put on the brakes and erect a barrier until you feel safe. You’re very cautious in new situations and reluctant to get into them in the first place. You are better in unfamiliar situations when you are in charge.

Uranus, you tend to put people a bit off balance. Which you secretly, or not so secretly, enjoy. You rarely feel that you really fit in, and usually, you’re okay with that. You’re unpredictable rather than spontaneous. What seems to others like a sudden spontaneous decision by you has usually been building for a while.

Neptune, you’re open, receptive, taking in everything around you. Like Moon rising people, you tend to have weak boundaries. So you have to make an effort to take good care of yourself, emotionally and energetically. Weirdly, you have the ability to become invisible in public. In fact, sometimes you have to fight to be noticed.

And Pluto. One person on Facebook with this placement said, “First, I have to figure out if I love it or hate it.” Meaning, anything you’re presented with. If you love it, you’ll go with it 100%. And if you hate it, you will make the person or situation wish they had never crossed your path. You project a very powerful, often sexual vibe that is alluring to some and off-putting to others. You’re very good at handling emergency situations and are happiest when you feel you have control over a situation.

Since lunar nodes are not planets, I don’t count them as first responders. And I don’t really work with the asteroids much, including Chiron, so while I’m sure you can make an argument for them as your first responder, and please feel free to do so in the comments section of this podcast post, I don’t really have much of an opinion about them.

What is your first responder planet, and how does it operate in your life? Please let us know on the website! And Penelope, thank you very much for your question!

If you, Invisible Friend, have a question you’d like me to answer on a future episode, just leave a message of one minute or less at Or, email me at April at and put “Podcast Question” in the subject line.

Donor Thanks

That is everything on my show sheet, so I’m going to wrap this one up. Thank you for listening to the Big Sky Astrology Podcast. If you like what you’re hearing, please be sure to subscribe or follow the show in your app of choice. Leave a rating or a review, and I hope that you’ll help spread the word by telling an astrology-loving friend about the podcast. You can read show notes and full transcripts and leave your comments about each episode at

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Fotena and Jennifer, thank you so much for listening to the podcast and for supporting the show with your donations.

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That is it for this episode. Join me again bright and early next Monday, and until then, keep your feet on the ground and your eyes on the stars!

Writing and images © 2017-24 by April Elliott Kent

For more on this week’s planetary news, read my weekly column!

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